A regional affiliate of Islamic State on Monday said it had carried out a rocket attack on Uzbekistan from neighboring Afghanistan, the first strike by the terrorist group against the Central Asian nation.
Islamic State Khorasan Province fired 10 rockets at an Uzbek military base in the border town of Termez, the group said in a statement released Monday, according to Site Intelligence, which tracks terrorist propaganda.
Uzbek authorities did not immediately comment on IS Khorasan’s claims.
The launching pad was reportedly in Hairatan, a border town in the northern Afghan province of Balkh. The terror group also released a photo and video of the projectiles to back its claims.
IS Khorasan has increased attacks in and around Afghanistan following the U.S.-led foreign military withdrawal from the country in August after 20 years.
The group has carried out several attacks in neighboring Pakistan, including a deadly suicide bombing of a Shiite mosque in the northwestern city of Peshawar last month.
The attack killed more than 60 worshippers from the minority sect and wounded scores of others. Pakistani authorities said the bomber was an Afghan refugee who received training in Afghanistan.
Pakistani Taliban attacks
Meanwhile, the Pakistani Taliban (TTP), designated as a global terrorist group by Washington, has also stepped up attacks in Pakistan from its Afghan bases since the foreign troop withdrawal and the Taliban’s return to power.
Authorities in Islamabad say leaders and fighters of the banned anti-Pakistan militant outfit have established bases in Afghanistan after fleeing Pakistani counterterrorism operations and are plotting cross-border attacks against security forces.
Pakistani officials say that since the start of the year, more than 100 Pakistani military officers and soldiers have been killed in TTP-plotted roadside bombings and gun attacks in remote districts on the Afghan border.
On Sunday, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry urged Taliban rulers in Afghanistan to take “stern actions” against militants staging cross-border attacks on security forces in Pakistan.
“Pakistan has repeatedly requested Afghan government in last few months to secure Pak-Afghan border region. Terrorists are using Afghan soil with impunity to carry out activities inside Pakistan,” the ministry said in a statement.
The statement came a day after the Taliban accused Pakistan of carrying out deadly airstrikes inside Afghanistan. They summoned Islamabad’s ambassador in Kabul to the Foreign Ministry to protest the alleged early Saturday strikes that reportedly killed up to 40 people in the Afghan provinces of Khost and Kunar.
The casualties and the alleged Pakistani airstrikes could not be verified from independent sources.
Islamabad has been pressing the Taliban to rein in TTP activities since the Islamist group seized control of Afghanistan and U.S.-led foreign troops withdrew from the country.
It is widely known that the TTP provided recruits and sheltered Afghan Taliban commanders on the Pakistani side of the porous border between the two countries to launch insurgent attacks against the then-Western-backed government in Kabul and international troops inside Afghanistan.